Tuesday, May 30, 2017

What I Read: May


I didn't read a ton in May, but there are twice as many books in this month's post as in last month's, so that's a good thing. :) Overall it was a good reading month and I enjoyed everything I read.

One Year in Coal Harbor, by Polly Horvath. This is the sequel to Everything on a Waffle, which I reread last month. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to that book. It was longer and had more characters and subplots, but something was lacking. I still liked it, though. (And the cover is gorgeous!)

Talking as Fast as I Can, by Lauren Graham. I've been a Gilmore Girls fan for years now, so of course I had to read this book. (I've only seen the first two episodes of the revival series though, so no spoilers please!) It was very enjoyable and funny, and I definitely feel like Lauren Graham must be a little like Lorelai in real life because a lot of her personality shines through. (Like Lorelai but much more likable.)

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Ever since I got hooked on Shirley Jackson's writing, I've wanted to read this: it's one of her most well known books. I'm a wimp and don't do scary things in general whether it's books, horror films, etc. But I do love a good creepy story with an unsettling tone, and that's definitely what Shirley Jackson does best. This book was so weird, but it sucked me in and got under my skin. Until the second half, that is...things began feeling off and disjointed then. So, not my favorite of hers (that would be "We Have Always Lived in the Castle"), but still good. (Sadly, the 1963 film version was not good though. Kenny and I watched it together and Eleanor's endless inner monologues are awful. This book just needs to be left alone because it doesn't translate well to screen.)

The Yorkshire Shepherdess, by Amanda Owen. A friend from knitting group let me borrow this memoir, and I really enjoyed it! It's similar to James Rebanks' "The Shepherd's Life," which I read earlier this year. I liked it even better than that book, honestly, because his attitude grated on my nerves sometimes. The writing in this one isn't amazing, but the author is really likable and keeps things interesting as she writes about raising sheep and her seven kids on an English farm.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Knitting: navy Marion cardigan (plus a dress).


I've only had this cardigan finished since the beginning of February. February! I have no idea why it has taken me three and a half months to finally get pictures of it. It was 90 degrees over the past few days (yuck! I'm not ready for Virginia summer), but thankfully today was cool and damp so I could squeeze in another wearing of this sweater before packing it away until fall.

The pattern is Marion, by Andi Satterlund. This was one of the first sweater patterns I ever wanted to knit...I added it to my queue years ago. I bought the pattern three years ago, and I always pictured knitting it in some shade of blue because the cables reminded me of nautical ropes. When I needed a navy sweater to wear over some sleeveless dresses I'd sewn, this seemed like the perfect time to finally knit Marion!

I'd previously knitted one of this designer's sweaters, Miette, which is a pretty basic pattern. But because of some fit adjustments, I had to do a lot of tweaking and reworking with that one. Thankfully things went much smoother with Marion. The only thing I changed was to make the body and sleeves slightly shorter. This sweater was made specifically to wear over dresses, and there's a particular length I want for that.

I used Quince and Co.'s Lark yarn in the Pea Coat colorway. I love that their yarn is made with American wool and it's pretty soft. The only thing is that sometimes it has a strange stiffness to it, almost like cotton. Also, as you can tell in some of the pictures, it is already starting to pill in spots. I do think this yarn shows off cables really well though...and even though they're subtle, I especially love the little cables knit into the ribbing on the sleeves.

You might remember that I got obsessed with the thought of using a certain type of vintage buttons on this sweater. I only had two, but I found some more on Ebay and ordered them. They seemed to be a perfect match...until you got in sunlight, when it was obvious that my two were navy and the others were a brighter blue that clashed with the sweater. So sadly I just had to settle for plain new plastic navy ones.

One more thing...this is a dress that I sewed at the end of last summer and never blogged about! It's the same pattern as the others I made last year, nothing special. The fabric is just basic cotton from Joann's. I think it's supposed to be a floral, but up close the print reminds me of fireworks and I liked that. But see that crease across the neckline? Obviously I still haven't got the fit perfect.

Ravelry project page.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Knitting: Mother's Day socks.


Here's proof that at least some knitting has been happening lately...I just couldn't share it until now. :) Knitted socks are a standard gift for my mom, because she loves them and wears them all the time. So I made her these for Mother's Day. They're just plain vanilla socks, though I did use the heel from Hermione's Everyday Socks. (Just because I love how it looks and the garter ridge edge looks so nice and neat when you pick up the stitches.)

The yarn is from Twist Fiber Studio, some that I picked up at the Carolina Fiber Fair back in March. It's her Fairview base in the "Girl at the Rock Show" colorway. My mom loves pink, so when I saw this yarn it made me think of her. I absolutely love how it knitted up. I don't like pink at all, but I still think these socks are pretty. :)

Ravelry project page.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spinning: jewel tone BFL.


My most recent handspun, finished about a month ago now. The fiber was BFL swirl roving, from Gale's Art in "The Big O" colorway (kindly sent to me by Monica!). The colors are so vibrant and the fiber was so soft that I spun it thin, so it would last longer. :) I split the fiber in half and then spun it into one long continuous single, and then chain-plied it. There's something very satisfying about the end result of chain-plying, with the colors staying so clean. I ended up with about 336 yards of fingering weight yarn.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

What I Read: April


This is likely my most pitiful "What I Read" post ever. But what can I say? After getting engaged on the last day of March, in April I spent a lot more time with Kenny than I did reading. :)

Make 'Em Laugh: Short-Term Memories of Longtime Friends, by Debbie Reynolds. Sadly, I didn't feel like this book was necessary at all. I really enjoyed Debbie's first memoir, and her second one was pretty good. But by this point, there weren't many untold stories left. So I found this book a little dull and very disorganized and random.

Everything on a Waffle, by Polly Horvath. I first read this book three years ago and thought it was quirky and very endearing. I wanted to reread it so I could finally read the sequel (which I've almost finished now). It was thankfully just as good as I'd remembered!